I've been surprised to discover how the world of work and learning has so much in common. Organizational structure, measuring success, deadlines and the difference between hearing and learning have all come in to play. As my first cohort of students graduate here is snapshot of what I have learned so far:
Everyone wants to be recognized by their employer for the work they do, especially if it's above and beyond their job description. It happens often, whether you're asked to complete a task outside your scope of work or you want to outshine your competition and win that VP role that just opened up. Unfortunately, usually the more you do, the more expectations of you rise and as the work piles up, your performance slips and your stress increases.
In neuroscience, the voice in your head is part of your Default Narrative Network. It's the constant stream of thoughts (chatter, images, sounds, speech bubbles) going through your mind. The data in those thoughts is a record of what you have paid attention to over time, and how you have interpreted the observations around you.
I have always approached achieving a work-life balance like investing for the long-term. Just as market volatility means every day can't generate gains for your investment portfolio, you can't expect to perform professionally at peak levels all the time. Don't be too hard on yourself and expect professional perfection and growth all the time. Like successful, long-term investing, a life well-lived requires balance and consistency between home and office.
Regardless of how you might spend time at your desk, both sitting and standing can cause aches, pains, fatigue and discomfort after a long time, simply because you are not moving. Sitting creates immense pressure on your disks and vertebrae -- it's a very demanding position for your spine to sustain!
One could argue that the Millennials were only slightly impacted by "Helicopter Parented" phenomenon and the influence their parents had on them had both a positive and negative impact on their workplace skills, whereas the Gen Z kids grew up when this style of parenting really took hold. This could account for so many of them relying on their parents to help them with career decisions. So how is that working out?
Resilience is the ability to absorb high levels of change, while maintaining your personal resourcefulness. It is more than stress management. Stress management is about 'managing' or getting rid of something that is negative (that you don't want). Developing or building resilience is more about creating something positive (that you want). Focusing on what you want to create provides you with opportunities and 'answers' that will not come to you when you focus on what you want to eliminate.
We need to be selective about which situations to give our full power to, in order to prevent our strengths from becoming weaknesses. To calibrate where and how much to expend. This necessitates knowing our self, knowing our audience, evaluating each circumstance, and ultimately... exercising judgement.
When we realize that such a large portion of our time is actually spent at work, one would think we would be motivated to make this time as pleasant as possible. However, many of us know that this is not always the case. Most people have some sort of war stories from work that involve a difficult coworker or boss who seems bent on making our lives miserable.
There is a time and place for everything, and the things you might share with your friends or personal network are not always appropriate when you're on the job. After all, you never know how people might react to something you share (or overshare) at work, and those reactions can affect your day-to-day relationships and your career as a whole.
According to experts, every minute spent in planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. I think that if we have a list and follow it, we are saving substantially more time, and stress as well. If we create and use our Daily List of five tasks, we will save ourselves many hours of frustration just by being disciplined.
My alarm rings, I try to wake up and go out of bed but... I can't: my body feels like a heavy sandbag forced down to the mattress, my mind races, and my eyes traitorously well up with tears. The first emotion is fear. Not that I can't get up but that I could be late for work. I try to leave my bed again. No luck. And yet, my mental block doesn't prevent me from calling to a boss and asking for one day off for health reasons. Depression. It's real.
In my years of nutrition counselling, I have noticed that lunch often seems to be the forgotten meal. People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and dinner is almost always the biggest meal of the day. But what about lunch? Lunch should make up almost one-third of your daily nutrition intake -- shouldn't that be important?
As human beings, we often find ourselves doing the same things in the same ways. We pour a cup of coffee, turn on our computer at work, check email... the list goes on. And sure, we've heard the phrase "creature of habit" to validate this type of behaviour, but I'm here to declare it's okay to mix it up every once in a while.
Having worked in suicide prevention, I know that making suicide and suicide ideation taboo plays a part in suicide statistics. Just like Mental Illness has been coming out of the closet in the last few years, suicides can be prevented when it is destigmatized and talked about. We have anti-bullying legislation talk about workplace harassment. But suicide or suicide ideation and mental illness are too often off the table.